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Hospital delivers private neonatal rooms

By Megan Workman
Chip Ellis
Denise Burgess, director of obstetrical services at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital, said the renovated labor and delivery rooms and private postpartum rooms improve the patient's experience. The rooms got updates including new paint, furniture, computer systems, cabinets, cribs and more.
Chip Ellis CAMC Women and Children's employees Lavonda Williams (from left), Donna Welch and Anita Carfagna admire the updated private postpartum rooms, which patients have already occupied.
Chip Ellis Women and Children's now allows mothers to keep their baby in their room throughout their entire hospital stay, which is known as "rooming in."
Chip Ellis CAMC Women and Children's administrator Andrew Weber (left) and director of obstetrical services Denise Burgess unveil the newly renovated obstetrics unit, which features renovated private postpartum and labor and delivery rooms, new furniture and computer systems.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mothers who give birth at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital now have an intimate, private space that has been transformed to meet their needs, the hospital's administrator said Monday.

Women and Children's Vice President Andrew Weber unveiled the recently renovated labor and delivery rooms and new private postpartum rooms during an open house hosted on the hospital's second floor.

While the hospital has always offered private labor and delivery rooms and some private postpartum rooms, Weber said making all postpartum rooms private is "an expectation of patients."

Because they shared rooms, mothers had a two-person limit during visitations.

With the hospital's new visitation rules, there isn't a restriction to how many people can stop by the postpartum rooms, said Denise Burgess, director of obstetrical services at Women and Children's.

Finally, the Charleston hospital encourages mother-baby time by allowing the newborn to stay in the mother's private room throughout their entire hospital stay, which is known as "rooming in."

Weber said this 24-hours-a-day relationship improves bonding and breastfeeding and is another request of mothers today.

"These changes have become a must in the world of obstetrical services," Weber said. "The privacy and that intimate environment are imperative."

Women and Children's started its $2 million project to update the rooms in November 2011. Burgess said they completed the project in phases, renovating four rooms at a time.

The 13 labor and delivery rooms and 31 postpartum rooms have light blue, green and beige walls that are "soothing for moms," she said.

The light blue reclining and rocking chairs look more like home furniture rather than something that belongs in an institution, Burgess said. Floral artwork hangs above each bed, and mirrors adorn cabinet doors.

Much of the rooms' decor -- from the newborn's crib and infant warmer to cabinets and closets -- is made up of light-colored wood.

Before the renovations, shared postpartum rooms were divided by a curtain in the middle of the room, and new mothers also had to share a bathroom.

Burgess said some mothers who have already stayed in the refurbished rooms appreciate not having a roommate.

"We're getting really good feedback from families. They love these new rooms," Burgess said. "In 2013, this is what our patients want."

The makeover has helped improve nurses' jobs too, Burgess said.

Many nurses who have worked at Women and Children's for years "didn't think they would ever see this," she said.

Anita Carfagna, coordinator of the mother/baby department, said for the first time, nearly everything the nurse needs to cater to patients is stocked in the private rooms.

Nurses can watch the upgraded fetal monitoring system from their station, view computerized charts and answer a patient's call on a cellphonelike device that dials directly to a specific nurse.

"Everything is at-hand now so the nurses don't have to run around. It saves them time, and patients are getting what they need quickly," Carfagna said.

It also gives mothers more time with their baby, one of Women and Children's new goals, and they love that, Carfagna said.

She said mothers would get upset whenever the baby was moved in and out of their room.

Weber said the project is a "tremendous achievement" for the hospital, the community and families.

Reach Megan Workman at megan.workman@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.


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